Waiting Under the Foil Roof

The name says it all: As part of the “Mechelen in Beweging” (Mechelen in Motion) project, the 85,000-strong city north of Brussels is currently renovating its railway station and reorganising the entire station environment. The central eye-catcher in this mammoth project, which was conceived by the planning team of Belgian railway company NMBS, is the new, transparent station hall.

The roof and facades of the steel structure consist largely of around 3000 m2 of air-filled ETFE cushions. The multi-layer foil construction made of Texlon from Vector Foiltec stretches freely over around 4 m between the steel roof girders and facade supports. With its surface curvature, it forms a suitable counterpart to the wave shape of the hall roof. According to Vector Foiltec, the wind load requirements in particular were a challenge for the foil pillows. With appropriate calculation methods and support structures as well as special valve systems for the cushions developed by Vector Foiltec, however, it proved possible to implement the architects’ design concept in full.

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